Strong bids from strong companies will win contracts

The UK MOD Next Generation Boats Programmes session at SeaworkConnect led to a lively Q&A session with some interesting answers.

£210bn contract spend available and the stated aim of placing 25% of those contracts with SMEs increased the attention of the engaged audience for the popular UK MOD session held during the last day of SeaworkConnect.

The focus was the UK MOD Next Generation Boats Programmes, covering strategy, next generation vessels, opportunities, equipment and support, expertly moderated by Tim Currass - Programme Director, Society of Maritime Industries.

Presentations from Dan Bishop - Director Ship Acquisition Defence Equipment and Support, Joe Lambon - Ships Commercial Defence Equipment and Support, Phil Gittins - Boats Team Leader Defence Equipment and Support, and Michael Percharde - Requirements Manager, Defence Marine Services, were followed by a lively Q&A session with some interesting answers.

Several questions emerged on whether there was a preference for UK or foreign companies in the UK MOD supply chain. Any preference was categorically denied and in fact there was some pushback voiced in that companies had no need to worry about whether first preferences existed or not; they should put their best foot forward and bear in mind that strong bids from strong companies won business and that if sovereign capabilities were present then sovereign choice could follow.

An undoubted new driver when placing contracts is the maximisation of social value, supporting the UK government’s stated aim of levelling-up and increasing productivity and skills.

Improving sustainability is considered another plus, although the move to adopt a single fuel policy across acquisitions was now having to be challenged and rethought due to the drive towards Net Zero, albeit steered by the requirements of the Royal Navy.

Smaller companies which have experienced past frustrations were encouraged to explore the Defence Sourcing portal as a one stop shop for Defence opportunities. Competitions through the defence and security accelerator are seen as another route for the innovative solutions that will be required going forward.

The session ended positively with thanks going to all the suppliers who had helped the UK MOD continue to meet its operational needs during the challenges brought by the pandemic.  A final remark that the level of ambition currently being seen happens only once in a professional lifetime reflected the possibilities for companies going forward.

If you missed this session live or would like to view again, you will find it in the on-demand section of the What's On programme at for the next fourteen days.

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